There's still three games left, but there looks to be a clear favorite for the Cleveland Cavaliers' final roster spot: guard Jared Cunningham.
Cunningham was first singled out by Cavs coach David Blatt last Thursday after he dropped 31 points on the 76ers. Against the Grizzlies, Cunningham was the first player out of those competing for a Cavs roster spot to see the floor. He didn't score 31 points again - Cunningham finished with 13 points on Monday - but he did play 29 minutes. Only Richard Jefferson played more.
Cunningham is listed as a shooting guard and primarily works off the ball. At times versus the Grizzlies, Blatt has used him as a point guard and, so far, Blatt is somewhat happy with what he has seen.
"We played without [Mo] Williams tonight, and we wanted to try and get a look at Jared at the point a little," he said. "I thought he did ok."
There may be another spot open due to Tristan Thompson's on-going contract dispute. It isn't clear if the Cavs will go that route, but it's certainly on the table because of the injuries the Cavs are currently dealing with. The leading contenders would seem to be guard Quinn Cook, forward Austin Daye and guard Dionte Christmas.
Cook has appeared in all three preseason games, and like Cunningham, played in the first half vs. Memphis as the other hopefuls sat on the bench. He's also a point guard, and with Kyrie Irving still without a definite return date, Cleveland could look to carry an extra point guard. Christmas was signed over the weekend and didn't play vs. the Grizzles.
According to Cavs forward James Jones each of the guys competing for the final roster spot have done everything asked of them and are doing as much as they can in limited opportunities.
"It's not like they're getting consistent minutes, it's not like they go into games knowing exactly when they'll play," Jones said. "They're hungry and doing things on the fly and that's all you can ask for."
As for Daye, he didn't play until the fourth quarter vs. Memphis and may need a big game in order to make his presence felt. He's also been in this type of situation before. Daye won a title in 2014 with the San Antonio Spurs but barely played. After being waived by the Spurs, Daye signed with the Atlanta Hawks but was waived by the Hawks in July.
In Cleveland, he's stuck behind the likes of LeBron, Jones and Jefferson. He, however, says that he isn't frustrated by having to wait to play until the fourth quarter. Daye, who can play both the three and four spots, understands he's down in the Cavs' pecking order and that he has to make the most of his opportunities when he does get on the floor. On Monday, he looked to attack from the moment he entered the game and finished with 7 points in 8 minutes.
"I've been in the league, I know how it is. I kinda the knew the situation because of lineups and stuff like that," Daye said. "I'm just staying patient and trying to make an impact right when I get in. I've been able to do that and I hope they see that."